Savanna Explorer > Gulf Country

Gulf country

Mount Isa
Mount Isa is the major town and economic hub of the Gulf Country 

Landscape and industries

The Gulf Country covers the southern shores of the Gulf of Carpentaria and the country surrounding the many rivers that flow into the gulf. It includes the ridged landscapes surrounding Mount Isa. This is the largest of the tropical savanna regions as we have defined them, covering around 425,000 square kilometres.

The major land use in the region is pastoralism, although most income is generated by mining with several large mines in the region including the Mount Isa Copper Mine and the McArthur River and Century Lead-Zinc mines. The fishing industry is also a major employer in the region.

Gulf region

Land use

As shown in the map at right, pastoralism is the dominant land use throughout the region (shown in white). There are some national parks (dark brown) in the Queensland areas and significant Aboriginal lands (tan) in the Northern Territory region.


A number of the Gulf's climatic gradients appear to be aligned with the coast as well as having a north-south component. Average summer rainfall ranges between 400 mm in the south up to 800 mm in the north with moderate to high variability each year. Temperatures are hot with maximums around 36ºC, however, more frequent pleasant weather is recorded in the far north coastal sections and the extreme eastern areas in Queensland. Winter dry-season temperatures can drop, after warm, sunny days, to an average overnight low of 12ºC.

Biogeographic regions

This area is defined by the biogeographic regions Gulf Coastal, Gulf Fall and Uplands, Gulf Plains and the Mount Isa Inlier. For more information on the biogeographic regions on this map go to: ERIN's Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation of Australia (IBRA), web link below.


 Total Population

 Indigenous Population

 Mount Isa


















Table is based on Urban Centres and Localities figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2001 Census.

Population snapshot

The population figures at right are based on the Australian Bureau of Statistics census of 2001 which is conducted in early August. These more standardised Urban Centres and Localities figures replace earlier ones on this site based on Statistical Local Areas (SLAs) and Census Collection Districts.

The population of the region is reasonably sparse with most people living in the mining town of Mount Isa.


Northern Gulf Resource Management Group
Tel: (07) 4062 1330
Fax: (07) 4062 1488

PO Box 63
Georgetown, Queensland 4871

Southern Gulf Catchments
Tel: (07) 4743 1888

PO Box 2211 (81 Miles Street)
Mount Isa, QLD 4825